Accident prevention through establishing emotional benefits

Challenge: Axpo is the largest hydropower provider in Switzerland. In hydropower plants, work-related accidents tend to have more serious consequences than accidents that occur in the office. Accidents are not only extremely unfortunate because of the resulting damage to the employee’s health, they also result in downtime and treatment costs, which are both expensive and bad for the company’s reputation. For this reason, it is important to avoid human error and negligence wherever possible. Despite many years of raising awareness and employee training, the accident rate remained relatively high. Axpo needed to find a new way to change their employees’ behavior.

Solution: Heads developed a new concept for internal communication that created a positive emotional connection to the topic of workplace safety. The hydropower plants launched a contest with the slogan “Safety first”. A digital display in every hydropower plant showed which plant had gone the longest without an accident. At the end of the year, the plant that had the longest period with no accidents was rewarded with a challenge cup and the employees were given winners jackets. The displays also showed the earlier information (accident prevention tips, the latest findings, accident statistics).

Result: The team contest brought out the competitive side of the hydropower plants and motivated the employees to attach much greater importance to the topic of safety. The results are clear when you look at the accident statistics: the total number of accidents across all hydropower plants dropped by 30 percent in the first year and by another 30 percent in the following year.


Corporate culture